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Inarticulate rebellion and articulated role play.

Inarticulate rebellion and articulated role play.

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In this essay I will examine the role of rebellion and self assertion in Jane Eyre.
In this essay I will examine the role of rebellion and self assertion in Jane Eyre.

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Sep 01, 2012
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11/18/2013

 
Jane Eyre Essay: Inarticulate rebellion and articulated role play.In this essay I will examine the role of rebellion and self assertion in Jane Eyre.Jane resists “like any other rebel slave” the bonds of space and circumstance (12)
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. Sheguards against the further confinement of garters in Chapter II by asserting her willingness to acquiesce. This maneuver is emblematic of a life lived in fear of a vague“very painful and crushing, but only half intelligible”…“sing song”. Her “existence”, asit was relied upon the bountiful tolerance of Mrs. Reed. (13) The sing song voice of reprimand quietly filled each field of silence. Like a burly overseer it seemed capable of muscling in on both her public and private space. Though the song echoes throughout the book it does not display a univocal message. Its demands are those of conformity tonorm, but society is never static. Achievement of the requisite childhood decorum wouldfail to facilitate societal integration for the adult that Jane is to become. Therefore while itis obvious that the melodious message of conformity is not univocal, it does retain acertain thematic unity. The song exhorts its audience to be “useful and pleasant” (13).In Chapter II she is palpably haunted by the echo of the closing door that they locked“behind them”. (13) The “surrounding shades” evoke the stark and intimidating coloursof the room while hinting at the malevolent entities that ceaselessly hover. No “jail wasever more secure” than the trap that was history. She is caught, like all slaves between the bitter present and the “rapid rush of retrospective”.(14) She becomes assailed byquestions of self doubt and rails at the injustice of her lords and Master. With Mrs. Reedshe cannot strike a common chord or achieve any type of “harmony”.(15)There must exist a necessary sense of alienation between Master and Slave becauseMasters “were not bound to regard with affection a thing that could not sympathize withone amongst them” (16). The notion that Jane’s slavery was intrinsically linked to her 
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Ed. Smith Margaret. Bronte, Charlotte.
 Jane Eyre
. Oxford University Press London. 1973.
 
femininity while not entirely wrong is a misguided perspective. To equate the two is tomiss that before she was woman, she was a thing. The Hegelian dialectic of identity anddifference is at play even at this early stage of Jane’s story. She must surmount theimages with which she has been burdened by the Reeds and their “servants”. Sherenounces the image of a “noxious thing” and bridles at their barbs of invective“cherishing the germs of indignation”. From these germs she will forge an identitydifferent from the prescription.
 Jane Eyre
is a novel about a knee jerk reaction of self assertion. (16)Throughout the book there is a pervasive dichotomy between an inner and outer conjoined by an isomorphism of mood. The causal linkage is hard to discern, however,which scenario is the condition of the other is quite irrelevant. Jane is neither a BerklianIdealist nor a Humean realist, what matters is that the descriptive propositions thatspeckle each chapter are correlated with her feelings for the place, for the space.Daylight forsakes the red-room and we descend from the previous clarity of her Hegelianruminations to the relative obscurity of nightmarish uncertainty. She “grew by degree” inher realizations that come in confusing mass, but there is no immediate revelation - just aconsortium of associations. Initially Jane tries the impossible she attempts to empathizewith Mrs. Reed. She worries that the imposition of unwanted parenthood must have“been most irksome”. (16)She further considers the possibility of being eternally irked when she imagines miserabledead men “troubled in their graves by the violation of their last wishes”. The logic here isslim, but Jane vindicates her own position by trumping any ‘reasonable’ complaints Mrs.Reed might hold with the far more ‘worthy’ annoyance of the dead Mr Reed. (17) Sostarts a trend of self vindication by transcendental appeal.So convinced is she by the worthiness of her cause against Mrs. Reed she fears that her situation by the pure depth of its tragedy might conjure the supernatural.The powers of a creative imagination that might now be encouraged in children arerendered reprehensible by the crippling social schema of the Reed household. Mrs. Reed
 
can state with no sense of irony that “I abhor artifice” and punish what she deems to be acheap “trick”.(18) The word artifice here is almost intolerably loaded by the efficient andunbelievably succinct presentation of the text’s central motif. Creativity and imaginationare the well springs of the written word, so given that the premier villain chose to expressherself in this manner makes every subsequent line of the text a heavy handed statementof victory. Submission, stillness and most importantly “Silence!” are the virtuesdemanded by her aunt - in response a “species of fit” is pure inarticulate rebellion. It isonly later that she will claim the privilege of authorship “Because it is the
truth”
… “Iwill tell anybody who asks me questions, this exact tale…
You
are deceitful” (37)The strikingly female
 Bildungsroman
depicts the ambitious trajectory of a woman aware,rising from the depths of childhood imprisonment to the measured mastery gifted by thechains of matrimony. But before we can reach this ‘happy’ ending Jane must achieverelease from Gateshead and emancipate herself from Lowood.The crucial transition period occurs at Chapter X which has the odd honour of compounding her childhood silence with an omission of eight years in the fraught spaceof Lowood. The rebellious note upon which we ended our analysis of Chapter II has likeall youthful struggles been eclipsed by the concerns of the immediate. The “few linesonly are necessary to keep up the links of connection” (83) gloss over are period where“all my heart in insurrection”.(Chap II)By Chapter X Injustice was being dealt a formidable blow by the humanitarian instinctsof the local gentry, the world itself has begun to conform to Jane’s expectations. Or rather, Jane has begun to conform to the world’s expectations, her diction has changed. No longer do we find the descriptive realism and mix of intense feelings that the author evokes in Chapter II. The mantra of the ‘useful’ is now expressed by Jane herself whenshe declares “The school, thus improved, became in time a truly useful and nobleinstitution” (84). She becomes burdened by a normative language which can scarcely riditself of financial concerns – She bears testimony to the “value” and worth of thingswhile finding herself “invested with the office of teacher; which [she] discharged with

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